Fred van den Driessche

atlas: 2013 in review

Following from Tom‘s Voila 2013 review here is a brief summary of the major changes we made to Atlas, the global video and audio index, over the last 12 months.


The year got off to a strong start with the release of new and improved /channels and channel_groups resources. These end-points provide data supplied directly from the PA and do a great job of making the complex relations between platforms, regions and channels easy to navigate. You can read more in Oli‘s post.

ids and identification

Probably the single biggest change we made during 2013 was the introduction of ids to Atlas. The system of assigning a unique identification number to a resource had previously existed in Voila but we’d been aiming to move it closer to the ingest processes so it can be used by all systems Atlas supports, not just Voila. With a lot of meticulous planning and careful coordination from Tom, id minting (finally) happens in the natural place, at the heart of all things Content-related.


During the summer we also launched the listing widget. The listing widget is part of platform that we are creating, aimed at broadcasters, newspapers and other publishers who wish to easily offer tv listings and other social features around tv programmes on their websites and in their mobile apps.


Atlas would be nowhere without its collection of adapters to draw in data from remote systems. This year we’ve added adapters for BT, TalkTalk, The Sun, Wikipedia and YouView. There’s also been major work on adapters for BBC, Channel 4 and Lovefilm data.

Alongside the adapters there’s also been work on Atlas’ HTTP POST interface, supporting the manipulation of data at a higher level. Using this interface, adapters need not be written in Java and can be more separate from core functionality. Liam is particularly looking forward to writing one in PHP.

gestating deer

Throughout the year we’ve been hard at work on the next version of Atlas, dubbed deer. It’s been over the expected time to produce a deer since we first mentioned it but we’re aiming to release a fully-formed specimen that’s ready to consume with all the expected trimmings (and possibly flashing LED antlers too.)

This year work has focussed on super-charging the schedule end-point as well as improving the flexbility of the output data. We’ve also improved the bootstrap procedure from owl (the current incarnation) and moved all the relevant projects into a new, lean repository which should massively improve development momentum.

If you want to learn more about what to expect from deer check out the presentations we did over the summer: Owl vs Deer and 3.0 to 4.0.


There have been plenty of other things going on with atlas this year, you can check out the archives for a comprehensive list. We’re all excited about what 2014 has in store for Atlas and we hope you are too. If you want to get in touch please do drop us a line below or on the Atlas discussion group.

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